Maryland Deceptive Trade Practices Laws

Deceptive trade practices in Maryland are dealt under Maryland Commercial Law Code, Title 13 (Consumer Protection Act), Subtitle 3 (Unfair or Deceptive Trade Practices) Section 13-301 et seq.  Any advertisement of consumer goods or services without intent to sell, lease or rent are prohibited under Section 13-301.  Under Section 13-401, a consumer who is subjected to a violation of this title can bring an action with the Consumer Protection Division with the particulars of the violation.

Pursuant to Section 13-406, an Attorney General may seek an injunction against a person who has engaged in the violation of any of the provisions of this Title.  In addition to this remedy, under Section 13-408, any person who brings an action to recover for injury can recover actual damages, including reasonable attorney fees.  Under Section 13-409, Attorney General who brings an action is entitled to recover the costs of the action for the use of the State.

Under Section 13-411, any person who violates any provision of this Title, is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction s/he will be subject to a fine not exceeding $1000, in addition to any civil penalties.

Under Section 22-415 of Maryland Transportation Code, Title 22 (Vehicle Laws), Subtitle 4 (Other Equipment), it is unlawful for any person to tamper with, damage, interfere with, disconnect, reset, or alter or cause to be disconnected, reset, or altered the odometer of any motor vehicle with intent to change the number of miles indicated.

Md. COMMERCIAL LAW Code Ann. § 13-301

Unfair or deceptive trade practices defined
Unfair or deceptive trade practices include any:
(1) False, falsely disparaging, or misleading oral or written statement, visual description, or other representation of any kind which has the capacity, tendency, or effect of deceiving or misleading consumers;
(2) Representation that:
(i) Consumer goods, consumer realty, or consumer services have a sponsorship, approval, accessory, characteristic, ingredient, use, benefit, or quantity which they do not have;
(ii) A merchant has a sponsorship, approval, status, affiliation, or connection which he does not have;
(iii) Deteriorated, altered, reconditioned, reclaimed, or secondhand consumer goods are original or new; or
(iv) Consumer goods, consumer realty, or consumer services are of a particular standard, quality, grade, style, or model which they are not

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Md. COMMERCIAL LAW Code Ann. § 13-401

Consumer’s complaint
(a) Contents of complaint. — A consumer who is subjected to a violation of this title may file with the Division a written complaint which states:
(1) The name and address of the person alleged to have committed the violation complained of;
(2) The particulars of the violation; and
(3) Any other information required by the Division.
(b) Investigation. — After the filing of a complaint, the Division shall investigate the allegations to ascertain issues and facts. If appropriate, the Division shall refer a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission.
(c) Cooperation with licensing authorities and contracting departments. — The Division may seek the cooperation of the licensing authorities and contracting departments of the State in connection with its investigation of a person who is licensed to do business in the State or who has a contractual relationship with the State.
(d) Dismissal of complaint. — If the Division determines that the complaint lacks reasonable grounds on which to base a violation of this subtitle, it may:
(1) Dismiss the complaint; or
(2) Conduct any further investigation it considers necessary.
(e) Consumer may resort to other remedies. — This section does not prevent a consumer from:
(1) Exercising any right or seeking any remedy to which he might otherwise be entitled; or
(2) Filing a complaint with any other agency or court.

Md. COMMERCIAL LAW Code Ann. § 13-406

Injunction
(a) Attorney General may seek injunction. — The Attorney General may seek an injunction to prohibit a person who has engaged or is engaging in a violation of this title from continuing or engaging in the violation.
(b) Notice of relief sought. — The Attorney General shall serve notice of the general relief sought on the alleged violator at least seven days before the action for an injunction is filed.
(c) Order of court. — The court may enter any order of judgment necessary to:
(1) Prevent the use by a person of any prohibited practice;
(2) Restore to a person any money or real or personal property acquired from him by means of any prohibited practice; or
(3) Appoint a receiver in case of willful violation of this title.

Md. COMMERCIAL LAW Code Ann. § 13-408

Action for damages
(a) Actions authorized. — In addition to any action by the Division or Attorney General authorized by this title and any other action otherwise authorized by law, any person may bring an action to recover for injury or loss sustained by him as the result of a practice prohibited by this title.
(b) Attorney’s fees. — Any person who brings an action to recover for injury or loss under this section and who is awarded damages may also seek, and the court may award, reasonable attorney’s fees.
(c) Frivolous actions. — If it appears to the satisfaction of the court, at any time, that an action is brought in bad faith or is of a frivolous nature, the court may order the offending party to pay to the other party reasonable attorney’s fees.
(d) Exclusion of action to recover for injuries from health care provider. — Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, a person may not bring an action under this section to recover for injuries sustained as a result of the professional services provided by a health care provider, as defined in § 3-2A-01 of the Courts Article.

Md. COMMERCIAL LAW Code Ann. § 13-409

Recovery of costs by Attorney General
In any action brought by the Attorney General under the provisions of this title, the Attorney General is entitled to recover the costs of the action for the use of the State.

Md. COMMERCIAL LAW Code Ann. § 13-411

Criminal penalties
(a) General penalty provision. — Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, any person who violates any provision of this title is guilty of a misdemeanor and, unless another criminal penalty is specifically provided elsewhere, on conviction is subject to a fine not exceeding $ 1,000 or imprisonment not exceeding one year or both, in addition to any civil penalties.
(b) Exception. — A person may not be imprisoned for violation of any provision of an order of the Attorney General or an agreement of a party relating to unit pricing under Title 14, Subtitle 1 of this article.

Md. TRANSPORTATION Code Ann. § 22-415

§ 22-415. Odometers
It is unlawful for any person to:
(1) Advertise for sale, sell, use or install or cause to be installed any device which causes an odometer to register any mileage other than the true mileage driven;
(2) Tamper with, damage, interfere with, disconnect, reset, or alter or cause to be disconnected, reset, or altered the odometer of any motor vehicle with intent to change the number of miles indicated;
(3) Operate a motor vehicle, with intent to defraud, knowing the odometer is disconnected or nonfunctional; or
(4) With intent to defraud, offer for sale or sell any vehicle in which the odometer has been changed or altered to misrepresent the actual accumulated mileage.


Inside Maryland Deceptive Trade Practices Laws